Covid-19: Danish infections remain at high level despite third day under 4,000

A total of 3,711 new Covid-19 infections were registered in Denmark on Monday, the third day in a row the figure has been below 4,000.

A file photo showing Covid-19 testing. Danish infections rates have stabilised in recent days but remain at a high level.
From April, Covid-19 tests will be limited in Austria, but tourists and non-residents can still access them. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Thursday and Friday last week both saw over 4,000 new infections recorded in the country and were the two days with the highest number of new infections in 2021.

The total of 3,711 set down on Monday came from 133,782 PCR tests, giving a test positivity rate of 2.77.

Saturday’s total of 3,795 new infections came from 189,557 PCR tests, while Sunday’s figure, 3,415, came from 143,762 PCR tests. That gives positivity rates of 2 percent and 2.38 percent respectively.

Infections with Covid-19 in Denmark could continue to increase but perhaps only in the short term, according to Hans Jørn Kolmos, professor in clinical microbiology at the University of Southern Denmark.

“There is a lot of virus in circulation, and infections will probably continue to increase for a while yet because it will take some time before we see the effects of the coronapas [Covid-19 health pass, ed.],” Kolmos said.

READ ALSO: Denmark reinstates coronapas at restaurants, bars and events

The professor argued that current infection levels do not justify new restrictions. That is because the infections are not evenly distributed across the country, with cities seeing the highest number of cases, he said.

“We should not begin to introduce national restrictions now. But the increasing infections should be taken seriously,” he said.

“We are now looking towards the Christmas month where we usually have Christmas parties and are generally mostly indoors. Therefore, we should be extra careful,” he said.

READ ALSO: Could Danish companies cancel Christmas parties?

Christmas parties do not necessarily have to be cancelled provided the correct precautions are kept in mind during festivities, Kolmos said.

“We should remember to air rooms, not sit to closely together, be mindful not to sing and shout too much and remember to use hand sanitizer,” he said.

“Maybe Christmas parties will be a little different this year but there is nothing to say we shouldn’t have them if the infections situation doesn’t greatly change,” he added.

The number of hospitalised patients with Covid-19 increased significantly during the weekend. It is now 438 having stood at 378 on Friday. It should be noted that discharges are generally lower at weekends due to hospital staffing.

Early January this year saw Denmark reach its highest number of patients admitted to hospitals with Covid-19 when the figures exceeded 900.

“The most concerning thing (about admissions numbers) is that the number of hospitalisations is still increasing and we therefore risk the health system soon being forced to prioritise in what they do. We’re not there yet, but things could go the wrong way,” Kolmos said.

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Denmark’s Covid-19 hospitalisation figure ‘could reach 750’ in December

The number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 in Denmark could increase to 750 this month, according to a projection from an official expert group.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and senior health officials visit a vaccination centre at Copenhagen Central Station on December 3rd.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and senior health officials visit a vaccination centre at Copenhagen Central Station on December 3rd. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The expert group for mathematical modelling, which is attached to the national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI), released the estimate on Friday.

As of Friday afternoon, 449 patients with Covid-19 are admitted to hospitals in Denmark. The figure has been increasing in recent weeks but is still some way short of the peak hospitalisation figures from the winter 2020 wave, which exceeded 900.

“There are not catastrophic conditions yet but we have a combination of a tangible lack of nurses combined with this strain (of high patient numbers). It is clearly putting pressure on hospitals,” Kasper Karmark Iversen, senior medical consultant and professor at the University of Copenhagen and Herlev-Gentofte Hospital, told news wire Ritzau earlier this week.

The mathematical expert group calculates possible scenarios in which coronavirus restrictions could be phased out.

“The projections show a continued increase in the number of hospitalisations,” said the head of the group, Camilla Holten Møller.

“New hospitalisations of 70-200 per day and 550-750 in hospital (in total) are estimated up to the middle of December,” Møller said.

The figure for new hospitalisations does not account for discharged patients and therefore does not reflect the overall change in the total number of patients in hospital with Covid-19.

The expert group also predicts between 3,400 and 8,300 new cases of the virus daily by the middle of December. The group notes that its projections do not take into account the vaccination drive launched by the government this week. They also only partly account for anti-infection measures already in place, such as Covid-19 health pass (coronapas) requirements and face mask rules.

A total of 4,559 new Covid-19 cases were reported in SSI’s daily update on Friday. The total comes from 196,932 PCR tests, giving a positivity rate of 2.32 percent.

Daily cases have now been over 4,000 for six consecutive days. Friday’s positivity rate is a little lower than the typical rate seen this week, which is closer to 2.50.